Rose Lane Leavell sits in the family room of her farmhouse in Bullard, Georgia, surrounded by pine. Much of the 2,500 acres she owns with her husband, The Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell, is planted in pine. The house, built around 1870 and expanded several times, is built mostly of pine from their forest, right down to the floors, ceilings, walls, and even the kitchen counter tops.
“As much as we talk about trees, there’s still an ignorance factor. There are people who live in the middle of Manhattan who know nothing about trees and yet they’re the ones who want to govern the people who are actually in charge of the forest.”
Rose Lane's family has been living on the land in Twiggs County, Georgia since 1792. Despite her roots in tree farming, Rose Lane did not plan to go into the family business. Born Rose Lane White – she’s an accomplished artist who studied fashion merchandising in college and would own and operate a women’s boutique in downtown Macon for 20 years while she and Chuck raised two daughters. When Rose Lane inherited the initial 1,200 acres in 1981 that she and her husband Chuck would expand to 2,500, little of the property was in tree farming.
“The landowner thing is in my DNA. I don’t know it any other way. You’re born to manage this land. Land owning, hunting, horses, dogs, and especially trees are part of me. They make me who I am.”
Charlane is one of the most diverse tree farms in the industry. Charlane Plantation which is a combination of the first half of Chuck’s given name and the second half of Rose Lane’s, hosts quail hunts, weddings, corporate outings, school groups, artists retreats, college student researchers, and the occasional group of international visitors the Leavells meet while on tour.
Chuck has used his platform as one of the most accomplished keyboardists in rock music history, most notably for the Rolling Stones for the last three decades, to serve as a tireless advocate for environmental and conservation causes.
“Chuck’s biggest job has been to take the message to the common folk and he’s done a fantastic, relentless job of it. He's been able to take my family's message of stewardship and conservation to the public.”